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Advice from an Industry Asshole
Hello and welcome to my column!  I am kciR.  that's like Rick, but spelled backwards, in case you didn't realize.  I've been piercing for near 11 years as of writing this.  I am blunt, brutally honest, argumentative, and always right.  So much so that I was denied general access to the forums of for the safety of others.  

At first, I was a bit saddened about this.  Then I thought "Wait, I'm fucking awesome."  So I decided that I should continue to spread good advice, answer questions, and keep hacks in check while still remaining on the site I love.   I contacted Adam Callen, the owner of the site, and told him of my thoughts and he agreed to give me this space, the same space you are reading now, to do just that.
Since I'm relatively new to actually writing something intended for publication, I figured I'd pick a common subject for the first article and see how this column even ends up.  I'd like to have suggestions for future articles, or I may choose them by browsing current and past forum topics.  

The Asshole's advice for today is a break down-on apprenticeships;  what to look for when trying to select a studio to mentor you, how to obtain them, and what to expect.   Each of these points actually deserves an article of it's own and I'll try to keep this short for the TL,DR crowd and break it into three parts since I've rambled a good bit already.  The part I'm covering today is also exactly the same steps you should go through when searching for a studio to get a new body modification from.

When selecting a studio it is important to do a good bit of research.  Word of mouth is always good, but Google and other search engines can also be helpful.  Find a list of 5-10 studios in town that come well-recommended.  Discover their online presence, as most studios today will have a myspace/facebook account, a business website, or at least some mentions in a local establishment listing.   View pictures of the physical location, visit the artist's personal online profiles, check out reviews, etc.  If the place looks dirty, If the work looks poor, or if the site or artists seem lacking in any manner cross them off your list.

For the next step, you'll want to visit the studios still on your list personally and have a good look around.  (If you are) do not mention that you are looking for an apprenticeship at this time.  Make sure the studio is well-kept and clean, see that the artists are using proper protective supplies (single use needles, sharps containers, dental bibs, gloves) and are not afraid to dispose of them when necessary.  Some common warning signs:  sweeping/mopping or handling contaminated surfaces,  handling a phone without changing gloves, allowing clients to dig through or handle jewelry bare-handed, obvious signs of drug use.  

You may ask them about their autoclave and how it works, but unless you understand it's operation yourself you are probably going to just look like a dumbass.  Ask what they recommend for aftercare, and why they prefer that method.  Pay attention to how they answer the questions as much as the answer they give.  A good artist will be able to answer almost any question you ask and provide you with supporting reasons, a bad one will only have a few answers and keep referring to them.   

Look through all the portfolios available.  Examine the work displayed, don't just flip pages.  Is it placed well?  Does it look right?  Is it off-center or crooked?  If it is part of a larger project does the entire project correlate properly?  

If there is an apprentice or shop help ask them some questions, too.  What do they think of the studio and the artists that work there?  How are they treated?  Are they learning what they think they should?  

When you've satisfied your curiosity about this location thank them for their time and go to the next.  You are not obligated to get work done and as long as you aren't a severe nuisance and they have free time most artists will not have a problem talking with you for a short while.  If you want to be nice and have a higher chance of being remembered you may consider bringing treats (coffee, cookies, donuts, pizza) for the studio, as everyone loves snacks, when they're free.

Soon to come:  Part 2: What to expect in a good apprenticeship!  If you have comments, questions, suggestions for further articles, please do!  If just want to tell me that I'm an asshole or that I'm fucking amazing, I already know.

- kciR

kciR (aka Rick) has been warned, flagged heavily, and then finally banned from the forums for his natural tendency to be an asshole. Unfortunately, he also provides a great amount of helpful advice, so what do we do? We bring him aboard as our first columnist!

Copyright © 2023 Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety as long as credit is retained and usage is non-commercial. Requests to publish edited or shortened versions must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published December 20, 2010 in New York City, US.

I hope someone sees the humor in this =)
lmfao this is hilarious. way to go Rick good to see that you'll still be around giving the good advice you always do
Posted on December 20, 2010 (3:55pm)
i want to thank you rick, youve answered something ive been wondering about for a long time...apparently you CAN still read the forums you just cant post in them :P
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:05pm)
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:07pm)
perhaps a cover all on how to recognize what good work is.... to many hacks and hack-victims think that the do/have good work when they really dont..... ya know what i'm talkin about...

and damn good on ya for the article... great to see something being done like this finally...

all, you are quite the asshole....
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:11pm)
barney stinson of mods?
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:13pm)
Glad to see your still posting good advice here with your sense of humor raising a smile. An idea for a future one would be on good jewelery choices for healed piercings - what to look out for both good and for what to avoid.

Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:23pm)
I can dig it, and I will probably read everything you post.
The one part I don't get is the "common warning signs, sweeping and mopping". Please elaborate. My front people sweep and mop twice a day.
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:32pm)
This is brilliant. I am pleased.
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:35pm)
this is wonderful!
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:48pm)
Oh my. I was starting to have asshole withdrawals too!! Hooray for acknowledging those who have the smarts, and who are invaluable to our community!!
Posted on December 20, 2010 (4:48pm)
Not bad, elohssa. You could do with a bit of tightening up but all in all a good read.
Posted on December 20, 2010 (5:20pm)
This is an awesome idea! Hoooooray!
Posted on December 20, 2010 (5:55pm)
Posted on December 20, 2010 (8:05pm)
Posted on December 20, 2010 (8:33pm)
threw me in the right direction
Posted on December 20, 2010 (9:40pm)
:} great advice
Posted on December 20, 2010 (10:02pm)
I breathed a sigh of relief seeing this.

I'm obviously not seeing an apprenticeship, but I like seeing the advice anyway. This seems like some of the things you want to look at to find a shop to get work done anyway. (But, for the slower crowd, you may want to write a "warnings of a shitty studio" article in the future.)

Posted on December 20, 2010 (10:35pm)
some good info there I am just glad to see you have a place to spread the word. GO RICK!!!
Posted on December 21, 2010 (11:22am)
Nice answers! Stoked to the others which will come soon i hope.
Posted on December 21, 2010 (5:31pm)
:D yay! i would love an article about jewelry materials.... right now my plugs are giving me a weird reaction... but i digress, this is an awesome article, very helpful!
Posted on December 21, 2010 (8:30pm)
Nice article Rick. Lets see if any of up and comings take your advise. Cant wait to see Part 2. Keep up the great work and general ass-hattery!
Posted on December 21, 2010 (9:55pm)
4 days later and I finally see this. Thank you for providing a concise article on the first steps of seeking an apprenticeship.

I agree that perhaps you should post examples of poorly placed piercings nect to properly placed ones so that people who aren't as well educated as some of us can see the difference.

This means I need to check out the front page here more often
Posted on December 24, 2010 (4:46pm)
LMAO!!! And a HIGH 5 to you brother for such a great and well delivered message. In your blog you are helping others by enlightening them as some of the critical safety concerns on should be aware of when considering shops and mods in general. Keep up the great work. You are a beacon so let your light shine on!!!
Posted on December 26, 2010 (9:39pm)
Good thing. Your comments would really be missed. Way to go team!
Posted on January 5, 2011 (1:30am)
"you're fucking amazing !" :p
Posted on January 10, 2011 (2:16pm)
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